Creating a Grocery List

When I went shopping two weeks ago I forgot that Easter was only 14 days away. I postponed my shopping and instead of shopping during the Easter weekend I will shop either today or tomorrow. I wanted to avoid crowds as well as some of the stores I shop at changed their hours or were closed all together and I just did not want to deal with that.

As I mentioned in my previous post I create my grocery list on daily bases. Once the ads are out I look through them and come up a meal plan and a with a final version of my list.

Aldi ad highlights

Meat

  1. chicken drumsticks  $.49/lb
  2. turkey 1.19/lb
  3. ham $.99/lb

I have enough meat for two weeks in my freezer so I do not need to buy any this week although I may pick up a pack of the drumsticks. I am going to try to buy healthier options and opt for the “Never Any” brand but I will see how it will play out.

Produce

  1. russet potatoes $1.99/10lbs
  2. celery $.99
  3. brussels sprouts $1.49/lb

Dairy

  1. Butter $1.99/lb
  2. Eggs $.79/dozen (I missed that special, it was only on for 4 days)
  3. Milk $1.79 (I am trying to find room in my budget to switch to vegan milk which usually sells 2.5/.5 gallon)

Other

  1. Crescent rolls $.99
  2. cinnamon raisin bread $1.49/loaf. Their regular whole wheat bread is still only $.99/loaf
  3. oj not from concentrate $2.09/59oz
  4. flour $1.39/5lbs
  5. sugar $1.59/4lbs
  6. fruit spread made with 75% fruit $1.99/9.95oz

Kroger Ad Highlights

Produce

  1. Asparagus $.99/lb
  2. Pineapple $.99
  3. sweet potatoes $.69/lb

Dairy

  1. Cheese $1.77/6-8oz
  2. Milk $1.59/gallon

Other 

1. Cake mix/condensed milk $1

Meijer  Ad Highlights

Produce

  1. Apples $.99/lb
  2. Grapes $1.49/lb
  3. Broccoli crowns $5/5
  4. Mushrooms $5/5
  5. large artichokes $5/5
  6. Nectarines/plums $1.49/lb
  7. Kale $5/5 bunches

Dairy

  1. Cheese 6-8 oz 2 for $3

Other

  1. Peanut butter $1.99/lb

I plan on making a trip to Costco to stock up on certain things/buy in bulk so I won’t be getting too much of my regular groceries because I still plan on sticking to the budget. I allocated $100 on things I will be buying in large quantities at Costco and the remaining $44.62 on things like produce and dairy. This week I will not be buying any meat because I have enough in my freezer. I have fish, shrimp, chicken and ground turkey as well as two portions of ground beef

Meal Plan

Breakfast: french toasts, egg salad sandwiches, sandwiches, roasted veggies, oatmeal, cereal.

Lunch: sandwiches or leftovers from dinner + 2/3pc of fruit.

Dinner:

  1. Spaghetti, salad
  2. Shrimp pasta, salad
  3. Chicken w/ cream cheese, rice
  4. Fish, rice, salad
  5. Black bean burgers
  6. Butter chicken, rice, salad
  7. Tacos
  8. Fish, potatoes, salad
  9. Fish, rice, salad
  10. Vegan sweat potato chili
  11. Pizza
  12. Vegan yellow split peas loaf

Snacks: Smoothies (at least 1 a day, sometimes 2 or 3); homemade banana bread or apple cake; oatmeal; fruit; homemade fries; roasted veggies; baked potatoes.

The only ingredients I need to be able to prepare my dinners are produce and potatoes as well as tortilla wraps and burger buns.

Shopping List

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This week my grocery list is very simple because I am not sure how are the prices like at Costco. We shop there frequently but we don’t buy the same things often because most of them come in bulk. I allocated $100 for all of the things I will be getting at Costco. I will not spend more than $110 there because I still need to get my produce from other groceries where they sell them much cheaper but If I know that something puts my total balance over $3 I do not want to get rid of it because I am buying such large quantities that it is cheaper for me to just buy less produce than to buy $3 cheaper olive oil because $8 olive oil at a regular grocery store will come in a very small quantities so I will be actually loosing money in a long run.

In yellow I have the general thing I want to get at Costco. $100 is not a lot of money when you are shopping at such a store so instead of listing every single thing I want to buy in bulk I just listed the general items so that I can buy at least one of each category. For example I want honey, maple syrup and agave sweetener but I know that it is impossible on the budget I have so I just put down a sweetener on my list and I will just choose when when I get to the store. In blue are more specific things I need from there but I am not sure whether it is cheaper to buy those things from a regular store so I know that I need to check the price before buying them.

In Orange I have items I will be getting from a regular grocery stores and I will be using the ad highlights to pick them up.

 

 

 

 

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Composing a Grocery List Based on Ads

The grocery ads in my area are out already and I have decided to start working on the final version of my grocery list.

I have looked up the online ads and I have decided to shop at Aldi, Walmart and Kroger.

Browsing the Ads

Aldi Ad Highlights

Meat

  1. Appleton Ham 79-99 cents/lb, (3.49/lb for Never Any Ham w/o antibiotics, by products or hormones);
  2. Chicken breast $1.49/lb

Next week Aldi is having Boneless Lamb Leg Roast seasoned/unseasoned at $6.49/lb as well as chicken thighs at .49/lb

Produce

  1. Navel Oranges $1.79/4lbs;
  2. Grapefruit $1.99/5lbs (I highly recommend the grapefruits, they are amazing);
  3. Kiwi .75/3
  4. 6 oz blueberries/blackberries $1.49/.99
  5. Lemons 1.99/2lbs

Other

  1. Milk $1.59/gallon
  2. Crescent rolls .99

Kroger Ad Highlights

Meat

  1. Frozen turkey breast .99/lb

Produce

  1. Peaches, plums and nectarines at .99/lb (I love their plums);
  2. Strawberries $5/4lbs
  3. Sweet Bell peppers (yellow, red and orange) $1/each
  4.  Green Cabbage $.29/lb
  5. Organic Celery $1.29/bunch

Other

  1. Private selection bread .99/loaf
  2. Beans/Tomatoes in a 15oz can $1/2cans
  3. Green Cabbage $.29/lb
  4. 24oz Sour Cream/Dip/Cottage Cheese $4/2 containers
  5. 32 oz yogurt $4/2 containers
  6. 6-10oz frozen sides/vegg $1/each
  7. .5 gallon coconut/almond/soy milk $4/2 boxes

I have been writing a grocery list throughout the week and now that the ads are out I can plan my meals as well.

I am shopping for two weeks so I need a meal plan for 14 days. I am basing my meals on the sales and whatever I already have at home. I may end up adding or removing things from my list depending on how much money do I have to spend. I am also leaving room in my budget for clearance items which are not advertised in the ads.

Meal plan

Breakfast: french toasts, egg salad sandwiches, sandwiches, roasted veggies, oatmeal, cereal.

Lunch: sandwiches or leftovers from dinner + 2/3pc of fruit.

Dinner:

  1. Spaghetti, salad
  2. Shrimp + broccoli pasta, salad
  3. Chicken w/ cream cheese, rice
  4. Steak, potatoes, salad
  5. Pizza w/ pineapple + onions + chicken
  6. Butter chicken, rice, salad
  7. Fried mini meatloaf, potatoes, salad
  8. Fish, potatoes, salad
  9. Fish, rice, salad
  10. Curry chickpeas w/ sweet potatoes
  11. Pizza w/ pineapple + mushrooms + onions
  12. Tuna sandwiches + pickles

Snacks: Smoothies (at least 1 a day, sometimes 2 or 3); homemade banana bread or apple cake; cereal; oatmeal; yogurt; fruit; homemade fries; roasted veggies; hummus with bread/veggies.

This week I planned my meals mostly around what is already in my house. I have a lot of chicken from my last trip to Aldi as well as steaks, ground beef and a little bit of shrimp left from my trip to Krogger a month ago.

Shopping List  

march gl

I assigned a price to each item. Some prices are taken from ads and some I estimated (I tried to overestimate rather than underestimate so that I will not be disappointed at the store).

As you can see my list is long and impossible to accomplish on the budget I have ($300 for the month for 2 ppl, I aim to make 2 trips/month so that’s $150/trip). My first step to create a list was to list the things I need to get me by for 2 weeks. As I am writing this post I am 4 days away from going to the grocery store and I am already out of fresh fruit and by the time Friday comes I will be out of milk and OJ. I know now that I need to get more of those things the next time I go. By looking at my list I know I won’t be getting everything. The list contains $90.7 worth of things I can go without, that will free up $17.4 that I can spend on almond milk and extra fruit so that I do not run out of anything. If I wanted to get everything I would be spending about $227.3 which is $77.3 more than I am comfortable with.

Building my pantry

Instead of trying to get everything I want I will be focusing on building my pantry. I am going to be getting a lot of canned goods for my pizzas as well as slow cooker so that I have an access to easy, fast and healthy meals on the days when I do not feel like cooking for 3 hrs. I want to stock on them now while they are on sale.

Executing the Grocery List

I know that it is impossible to have the perfect grocery list or have the perfect budget.

  • Bring a Calculator

Before adding anything to my cart I add it up in my calculator so that I know how much I am spending and how much money do I have left.

  • Get items from clearance

I assign regular prices to items on my grocery list because I never know what am I going to find on clearance. On my previous trips I found cheese, yogurt and bread on sale. Saving money on essentials frees up more money in my budget for things I do not necessary need right away but may need in the future especially if the nonessential items are on sale.

  • Stick to the Budget, not necessary a grocery list

My ultimate goal is to not spend more than I budgeted for and to get enough groceries until my next trip. I have divided my grocery list into essential and nonessential items that way I have some wiggle room for products I may find that may not be on my shopping list but are on clearance (cheese, tea, spices) and getting them off clearance will save me from adding them to my next grocery list.

Example #1

I have $5 hot dogs on my nonessential list. I picked them up and I have reached my maximum budged, I can not spend anymore money and I see an unadvertised sale on boxes of pasta at 50 cents/box. I will put back the hot dogs because even though I do not have hot dogs at home $5 is not a sale price, I can easily replace hot dogs with with another snack and I can get them the next time I am shopping but if I don’t get my pasta now another deal like that may not come by in a long time.

Example #2

I have $4 pickles (not a sale price) on my essential list because I am serving tuna sandwich w/ pickles. I see a pack of 1lb reduced meat for $3. I will pick up the $3 meat instead of the pickles because that is a great price and I can use it for 2-3 meals. On top of that I now have an extra $1 to spend on any extra items I want.


 

I will share my grocery haul with you in a few days once I get my shopping done! I will also be posting “February ’16 Grocery Budget Part 2” on Saturday as well so stay tuned.